Crystal Recruitment Recognizes Small Businesses in Kenya

Thank you for your business and your trust. It is our pleasure to work with you.

In Kenya, small and medium-sized enterprises make up about 98% of all businesses in the country. Additionally, SMEs’ share of the economy is growing substantially. Even though each individual small business contributes a small amount to the economy, together, they make up the backbone of the society. In the current climate, it’s important to recognize these contributions and honor them. As a small business ourselves, we know it isn’t always easy, but seeing the impact our work makes on our clients’ livelihoods makes it worth it. 

We have a small, but mighty team that has worked to place candidates in temporary and permanent positions. Since 2015, we’ve worked with numerous clients from different industries including Manufacturing, Hospitality, Business Process Outsourcing, Law, Marketing, and Finance. Our services make it easier for our clients to focus on their core business while we provide full-scale recruiting services. This is because of our promise to deliver on below.

  • Scalability – Scalable access to Talent when and where You need it
  • Quality – Higher quality talent aligned to your business vision
  • Speed – Business critical roles filled faster to impact bottom line
  • Brand– Enhanced employer brand, diversity and competitive position

Over and above, we’re happy to have the support of platforms like Clutch and the Manifest where we can be listed for free among other B2B service providers. The Manifest helps clients connect with leading business experts in different service areas and geographic locations. Similarly, Clutch offers ratings and reviews from previous customers.

We recently received a 5-star review from a happy client who we worked with to fill two positions based on their requirements. You can read the full review here. We’re so appreciative of the hard work that our team put in to make this project happen. Our team adhered to timelines and delivered results on time. In fact, our team was able to present candidates that met the client’s needs within a week.

Here’s what our client has to say: 

“Recruitment is all about speed, it’s vital to get someone who fits the criteria and will be a good resource for the company. Crystal Recruitment possesses that efficiency.”

We’re thankful for the clients that chose to work with us, and we’d appreciate it if you supported us at this time by leaving a review on Clutch.

And if you need a little bit more convincing why you should work with us, see our proposition outlined.

  • Crystal Recruitment sources for highly skilled set of talents by use of a sophisticated screening / interviewing system i.e. a structured behavioral interviewing system (SBI) to accurately screen candidates, which is statistically far more predictive than any other system.
  • Our team is proactive in sourcing and have an ongoing candidate pipeline development.
  • We have an 85% fill ratio for every open position we partner for.
  • We have a region wide presence within East Africa
  • High caliber candidates as we are always sourcing for candidates with the below qualities;
  1. Consistently exceed expectations
  2. Get things done on time without making excuses
  3. Are great problem solvers
  4. Fit with the culture, the team and the Hiring Manager
  5. Are highly motivated to do the work that needs to be done.

If you have any questions or are interested in working with us, don’t hesitate to reach out and you can also follow this link to view our company profile. You can email us at selection@crystalrecruitment.co.ke or check out our website!

Are you Grieving a Job Loss?

“What feels like the end can often be a time for a new beginning.”

Grief is a complicated emotion.

It’s important to grieve when you transition through a job loss stage in your career – it helps you understand more about yourself, and deal with the feelings of loss

For some people, a job is just a job but for most of us, it defines out identity and provides us with a way of making a living. Therefore, if someone has experienced a sudden job loss especially in the current pandemic, this can become a traumatic experience with no idea on how to move on.

The covid-19 has led to massive economic disruption with financial repercussions including industries that have been shut down completely and unimaginable lay-offs.

On the flipside, we have to remember that this is an opportunity to come out stronger on the other side, but we have to go through the whole stages. Some take weeks, others take months.

According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, there are 5 stages of grief and they are:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

1. Denial

If you lost your job because of the pandemic then you must have gone through this or are still in the denial stage. This is where there is an initial sense of anxiety and there could be an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It is very normal to feel this way.

Denial is a way our mind prevents us from going into shock – it is when we want to believe everything will just be fine. This stage quickly turns to anger when you get to the boiling point realizing there is nothing you can do about your situation and start looking for someone, something to blame.

2. Anger

This is characterized by blaming, pointing fingers and complaining. During this phase, it is imperative to minimize contact especially with social media. Keep in mind people remember the negative more than the positive.

People work hard. They sacrifice and give much of themselves in their jobs, so when that job is lost it can feel as though your contributions haven’t been valued. Many people feel angry about losing their job and the circumstances of that job loss can further exacerbate the feeling of anger

Once the anger passes, fear kicks in which brings up to the bargaining stage.

3. Bargaining

The third stage involves the hope that you can avoid a cause of grief. This is where someone is willing to do anything, it is more of short cuts. They want to get out of pain.

Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. For instance: “I’d give anything to be back—work hard, take up the shift that I always avoided or even work under the manager that I hated.” Or: “If only he’d give back my job, I’d promise to stay focused and perform better.”

The bargaining stage makes us rush into things without having a strategy in place or thinking through our actions, in other words, it is a kne-jerk reaction.

And this kind of reaction will lead to depression when the quick reaction does not get the desired results.

4. Depression

This stage is characterized by an overwhelming sense of sadness and could be because an action was taken and no desired end results or plain inaction where heads are buried under the sand. It does affect self-esteem as most people will look at themselves as failures and they would tend to think there is no point in spending time in anything.

Usual thoughts at this time are: “There is no meaning in working hard for organizations like this. There is nothing to look forward to. It’ll be really tough to find anything; I feel like giving up. What’s the point in putting up a fight and, after all, what am I fighting for?” At this stage, you might realize the ultimate realities of life—an absolute lack of control over such events, helplessness, and uncertainty. In this state, people close to you find you being silent, refusing to meet people or not taking interest or pleasure in your usual activities.

5. Acceptance

If you have reached his stage, congratulations. You now know and understand that some things are beyond your control and it is okay. You are at peace with any mistakes you may have made in your past job that could have led to the job loss. You know you can’t change the past and hence are perfectly okay leaving it where it belongs. You own that it has happened and gone. You stop beating yourself up.

It is where you are clear that you are ready to get into the space of working to grab new opportunities.

The grief process takes time. You do not want to rush through any of these stages, as each is important to help you heal after a loss. Once you recognize the signs of the stage you are in, you will be more apt to acknowledge your feelings, accept your situation and move toward a more positive future!

Our next blog will feature some things you can do to cope with Job Loss.

In the meantime, here are some tips you can try during the career grief:  

1. Go on a negativity diet. (Avoid toxic people, negative information, negative social media content, online content etc.) If possible switch off updates on Covid-19 and stick to only trusted sources. E.g., Find online support groups that have a no covid-19 policy forwards, but their purpose is to support each other during this period.

2. Try Pomodoro technique – Use this technique to do things that you need to do e.g., LinkedIn profile set up, resume revamp, interview preparation, job search research etc. In essence it is intentionally doing the things you have wanted to do or thought of doing but not sure where to start from.  

3. Try making a streak – as a verb, means ‘move very fast in a specified direction’. Basically you want to get to the next stage of your life as soon as possible and this means taking daily steps towards the same; be it networking online, connecting with recruiters, researching how to re-skill and up-skill yourself, checking out the industries that are hiring. When committed to doing something about your career growth and new job search every day, you will realize you have made long strides in 30 days where you are more confident and better informed.

COVID-19 crisis: What is the present and the future for Organizations?

“Today be thankful and think how rich you are. Your family is priceless, your time is gold and your health is wealth.” – Zig Ziglar

As of 2nd April 2020, Kenya had 110 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3 casualties. There is palpable panic as the nation grapples with the new realities presented by the spread of COVID-19. As organizations attempt to deploy their responses to the crisis, there have been concerns about the effects on the workforce. For some firms, it has been easy to transition to a remote workforce. The use of remote working platforms such as Office 365 and Slack has made it possible for workers separated geographically to realize their targets. For some enterprises, this has not been possible due to travel restrictions, challenges with the supply chain and the nature of their work. The economic effect of the health crisis is slowly being appreciated by the government. Several economic measures have been put in place including the president and his deputy taking 80% cut on their salaries. 

For employees, there are concerns that the jobs that have been rendered redundant might never come back pushing more people into unemployment. In a country where the unemployment rate stands at 9.68%, the looming threat to the future of jobs is difficult to confront. For employees working remotely, there are concerns that even with the measures taken by the government to reduce some taxes, the financial stability of organizations hangs in the balance.

What do organizations need to do in the wake of this new reality?

What matters most for now is the safety and health of your employees.

Different employees face different health risks. For instance, an organization that deals with clients face to face has front office and back-office staff. The level of health risks that front office staff have to face may not be similar to back-office staff. An assessment will help determine which functions need to be on-site and which functions can be done remotely. For functions on-site, it is not just important to print out recommended guidelines, it is equally important to update internal occupational safety and health guidelines and ensure they are adhered to.

Working remotely is not as simple as stay-at-home.

Organizations need to consider eligibility, approved tools and protocols for security compliance. It is not clear how long and how far into the year the effects of COVID-19 will spread globally and locally. For this reason, it is important to develop a remote working plan that envisions this. The infrastructure gaps and cyber security risks need to assessed and addressed to ensure the remote working plan runs smoothly.

Fine, tactical details need to be addressed such as:

Does the organization have the adequate infrastructure to manage a remote working model?

What about employees who do not have laptops? What is the best way to ensure they are not left out?

What tools adequately match the specific tasks that need to be carried out?

What tasks need to be carried out and how frequently?

How will collaboration be ensured for activities that need documentation?

What are the business performance indicators in light of the new working model?

How will the organization document its lessons and implement them for posterity?

Anxiety is everywhere, someone has to deal with it.

It is not as simple as “keep calm, work from home.” There are concerns about the future of organizations in the country. The flower industry in Kenya has taken a significant nosedive as access to markets has been impossible due to the grounding of flights. As online delivery companies thrive, there are brick and mortar companies that are weighing their options. The leaders of each organization need to assure their team members. They need to communicate about the changes that are taking place at the organizational level. For organizations whose finances are in a precarious state, this would be the perfect time to demonstrate the organization cares about its employees.

 Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways announced that he would be taking a pay cut of 80% to avoid laying off staff. Leadership at this time is less about what is said and more about what is being done. The economic crisis brought about by COVID-19 will last for months. If an organization can avoid laying off staff in the meantime, it would save many from sinking into abject despair. Kenya Airways is leading the pack. Even though 65% of the airline’s flights are currently grounded, the airline has decided to keep its staff on a paycheck for lesser pay.

Other organizations are offering their employees shopping vouchers to cushion them as the organization strategizes on how to keep afloat. Others are finding ways to keep their employees at work by exploring alternative business strategies. For instance, there are distilleries in America that have opted to use their raw material to make hand sanitizers in order to keep their workforce. In order to pay salaries, these organizations have sought donations from the public. Locally, there are a number of manufacturers who are offering to use their logistics department to transport medical supplies to far flung areas of the country.

These times call for innovation, creativity and compassion. We believe you are doing your best by your staff and as we appreciate this is business unusual, we are also optimistic that we will continue to figure things out as we learn to live with our new normal. In the meantime, if you are among those who are in the essential services and recruiting, our recruiting operations are ongoing and we would be glad to offer our support in getting you the talent at a discounted rate.

Beyond #IWD2020: Reflections on women, work and the way forward in Africa!

Africa has often been described as the rising phoenix thanks to the strides the continent has made and opportunities that have emerged as a result of innovation and technological advances in the continent. Women make up 50% of the continent’s population yet they still lag behind at the workplace. In 2018, women only contributed to 33% of the continent’s GDP. The Mckinsey Global Report indicates that $316 Billion could be added to the continent’s economy if all the countries in the continent matched the gender parity score of their best performing neighbour. If the current rate of progress towards gender parity is to be maintained, it would take about 142 years to attain it. Most of the women in the continent work in the informal sector and have limited access to high quality jobs due to factors such as lack of access to education, financial services and technological tools that would improve their lives. Africa has a high rate of labour force participation but representation of women in the formal sector remains low. The formal economy in Africa is ranked as the least gender equal in global rankings.  The global average female- male ratio is 0.86. The ratio in Africa is 0.68.

State of gender parity in the workplace in African countries

In an analysis that was done by the Mckinsey Global Institute, African countries have  varying performances in terms of their efforts to attain gender parity:

Leaders in gender parity: Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia have made significant progress towards representation of women in the political sphere, the number of women in professional and technical fields as well as other societal indicators of gender equality.

Middle of the road: Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Uganda, Togo, Madagascar, Burundi, Angola, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo

These countries have average scores in terms of progress towards gender parity. For example, Ghana has attained significant gender parity in education while Madagascar has above average female participation in technical fields and high quality professional fields.

Countries with room for improvement: Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Cote d’ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso

These countries need to make concerted efforts towards inclusion of women in the workplace. The number of women in leading roles in politics and business in these countries is relatively low as compared to other countries.

There is good news: Africa tops the world in terms of female representation in boards

The global average of female representation is 17%.  25% of board members in boards across the continent are female. A 2016 study by Mckinsey Global on impact of female representation on boards showed that pretax earnings by companies with at least 25% female representation were 20% higher than the industry average. Female representation at the board level has increased by 4% since 2015. Female representation in executive committees has only increased by 1%. South Africa tops the list of countries with a high number of women in boards at 29%.

But, women are still lagging behind in the workplace in Africa

Women who are formally employed are likely to have higher educational qualifications which gives them opportunities to leadership opportunities. In as much as there is a limited formal economy in the continent, employers need to encourage women’s participation since they shape the experiences of the majority who are participants in the sector.

Only a few countries have made concerted efforts towards inclusion of women in leadership roles therefore enhancing the continent’s gender parity score. These countries include Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda. If the current rate of progress towards gender parity is maintained, it would take 20 years to attain equality on boards and 18 years to attain equality on executive committees.

60% of the women on boards across the continent have staff roles rather than line roles. This has implications on female board members’ likelihood to become CEO’s because CEO’s typically come from line roles. Line roles focus on core operations, finance, risk and strategy while staff roles focus on legal and human resources.

The progress that has been made towards increasing the women in middle management roles in Africa has been less than impressive. Research indicates that the representation of women in professional and technical fields is relatively low as compared to the global average. Africa’s gender parity score has remained at 0.68 since 2015 with the majority of countries in Central and West Africa having some of the lowest representation of women in the workplace.

What are the barriers to gender equality in the workplace?
What is the way forward?

Organizations need to make concerted efforts to ensure active participation of women in the workplace. The first step towards this is to combat bias. Bias is often subtle and most organizational leaders struggle to acknowledge that it exists. Bias keeps women from being promoted or hired in some extreme instances. Organizational leaders need to challenge it head on by discussing the types of bias towards women and their effect on the organization’s gender inclusion efforts. They also need to take research backed efforts towards confronting biases. Organizations need to work towards rooting out language and behaviour in the workplace that enhances a culture of bias towards women.

Research has shown that there are few women who become managers in their organizations. For every 100 men who are hired at entry level positions and promoted to managers, only 72 women are hired and promoted to managers. Most women remain in entry level positions in spite of their talent and professional qualifications. This has significant impacts on the talent pipeline. This remains one of the greatest challenges for talent managers hence the need to critically examine the processes and practices that keep women in entry level positions.

Balancing work and life can be difficult juggle. Considering most women bear a significant burden of care at home, having flexible working hours is vital in promoting work-life balance. It can play a role in ensuring women are not left behind. Workplace policies that support women make them more productive and happier at work.

Are you working on a diversity and inclusion strategy especially to have more women professionals in your organization? Talk to us today and we will connect you with amazing women that your organization will benefit having them around.

~Corazon Achieng – Storyteller and Content Creator

What are you doing as a Company to prepare for tomorrow?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln

The inevitable future of work is here with us. Automation and AI are set to result in the creation of new roles, redefine the existing roles and create new tasks.  As leaders of organizations gear up for it, there has been a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Employees are grappling with whether their jobs will still be there or not as they seek to remain relevant. Organizations know that they need to prepare for tomorrow but very few are taking active steps to prepare for tomorrow. This may be as a result of not having a clear understanding of what they need to do in order to prepare for the future of work.

Having worked with leading organizations regionally, we compiled a few tips on what organizations need to do in order to prepare for the future:

  • Create a more engaging people experience in order to maintain a competitive advantage

People experience encompasses all aspects of work including the workload assigned to each employee, the office design, training and support provided by the HR. As automation increases, organizations are increasingly adopting lean teams comprising of highly skilled individuals. Tech evangelists admit that the human element can never be entirely replaced hence they advocate for emphasis of core skills such as creativity, empathy and critical thinking.

Cushioning one’s organization against the effects of talent attrition calls for building social resilience which will ensure that new models of work such as flexi-time incorporate human interaction using collaborative technologies. In adopting this approach, organizations will ensure that they have “big ideas crowds” which can provide inspiration and validation of ideas. This will create and sustain a culture of innovation within the organization thus ensuring that the organization remains dynamic.

In addition to this, organization need to make agility and adaptability a part of their values. To make these values a reality entails creating a culture of lifelong learning in which employees are aware of the dynamic nature of work.

  • Support intrapreneurship

Established organizations can learn from startups by encouraging “intrapreneurship.” Leaders should be encouraged to take risks so that they nurture teams and create space for development of ideas. Encouraging intrapreneurship means providing space for autonomy within the organization.

As organizations prepare for tomorrow, they must constantly evaluate the measures that they have put in place. For instance, allowing flexi time for employees can have damaging consequences if the targets are not agreed upon. Having off site employees can put pressure on employees because they feel that they constantly have to be at work. There is a thin line between promoting autonomy and creating a fragmented work force that does not work as a team. Getting feedback from employees and tracking the progress while learning from the mistakes is vital in the success of any organization’s efforts to prepare for the future.

  • Use data analytics to make use of talent

In order to gain a critical edge in gauging the future talent needs of the organization, organizations ought to adopt data analytics in talent management. Data analytics can help in the creation of a compelling employee experience and eliminate biases during the talent recruitment process. A survey of over 2,000 HR and business leaders from different parts of the globe that was carried by PwC showed that only 38% of the respondents use data analytics to gauge their talents. This is an indication of the hesitance to use predictive analytics to plan for their workforce. In spite of the availability of more tools that are user friendly to help in the process, organizations still struggle to interpret the data they hold into actionable steps that will help them manage their talent.

To remedy this, organizations need to use more precise analytical tools. HR teams ought to use tools that not only provide data but also incorporate data visualization tools in order to encourage feedback from leaders and staff. As concerns about data privacy increase, organizations should go to great lengths to ensure that the data is protected and staff know what their data is being used for. People experience can be personalized through organizational network analysis (ONA), skills mapping tools and career mapping tools.

Embracing use of data analytics more in HR can help in the elimination of bias. Data analytics would help organizations track the rates of promotions and recruitment among marginalized groups. In doing this, it is important to ensure that algorithms are not wired to replicate human biases by ensuring that the data analysts understand how algorithms work and are capable of making adjustments in order to result in a diverse pool of talent.

  • Support vitality and tackle burnout

Research studies have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that burnout is on the rise and it affects the bottom line. It is not enough for organizations to set the length of the working day and targets. Organizations that are seeking to retain and engage their talent also ensure that there are measures in place to promote employee well-being.  For instance, Google East Africa has an office that is designed to promote creativity through the incorporation of color and crafts. Organizations are increasingly challenging their employees to take health breaks and engage in physical activities. Organizations can also adopt the following measures to support vitality:

  1. Allow the workers to choose where they want to work from if possible
  2. Promote synchrony between the virtual and physical working environments
  3. Encourage employees to take time away from work
  • Mind the gap

It is often said that human beings are likely to underestimate the likelihood of a bad outcome and overstate a good outcome. This applies to preparing for the future because most leaders assume that they are on the right track yet the reality betrays them. Bridging the gap calls for the following:

  1. HR teams and business leaders must ensure that their employees are future proof by consistently communicating on the initiatives that they are implementing and ensuring they are understood and lived within the organization
  2. Coach team leaders on how to effectively lead the way without leaving their teams behind and encouraging them to have means to track their success
  3. Encourage HR to take a leading role in thinking and planning for the organization’s future.

Is your organization struggling with preparing its employees for the future? Talk to us today

Do you have Job Evaluation as part of your 2020 plan for your Organization?

Objective evaluations set the foundation that moves leaders to the tipping point…

As organizations streamline their operations in 2020, it is critical to align the talent needs of the organization with the business strategy of the organization. One of the ways of doing this is to carry out job evaluation. Job evaluation refers to a system that assesses a job in relation to other roles in the organization based on common criteria. It is often carried out using one of the following approaches:

  • Analytical job evaluation: This is based on method in which jobs are viewed as whole elements that can be broken down into smaller, defined elements namely: scope, knowledge, communication, level.  Using a matrix that assigns values to these elements, a score is derived for each job. The total points assigned to each job are used for determination of the overall grade
  • Non analytical job evaluation: Compares one job to another without considering the definite factors that make up each job

Job evaluation can be carried out by observation, questionnaire or survey.  The approach depends on the job environment. A production environment would best be evaluated through observation followed by a survey. An office based job would best be evaluated through a questionnaire or a survey. All the relevant stake holders need to be involved during job evaluation. Job evaluations help establish the natural relationships within the organization. As organizations grow, they become complex in terms of the structure. Discernible differences between the roles may not be as clear as the organization continues growing. For instance, is there a difference between an entry level clerk and an executive assistant?  The answer may seem obvious but it is not always obvious. A job evaluation provides data to help differentiate roles in terms of scope, knowledge and range of skills required for a role.

  Job evaluation is preferred and should be carried out regularly for the following reasons:

  • Promotes rational decisions about pay within the organization

Carrying out job evaluation enables the organization to minimize inconsistencies in key decisions such as the scope of a role. Evaluation of a job based on a consistent set of logical factors provides the leadership of an organization with a structure for rationale decision making on the roles that need to be filled within the organization. It also helps in the identification of replicated roles thus providing for an opportunity to redefine the roles in order to maximize the potential of the employees.

  • Promotes fair system of pay

There have been complains about poorly structured pay systems in most organizations. Job evaluation can help address some of the concerns about pay structures within an organization. The pay structures in organization fall into one of these structures

  1. Narrow- graded structures: Jobs that are considered of equivalent value are placed in one category. The pay for that category is determined
  2. Broad grade structures:  Fewer and wider grades are used as reference points. Progression is tied to the reference points
  3. Job family structure: This allows for the co-existence of different grade structures and is particularly useful when operating in different job markets
  4. Pay spine structures:  This type of structure is common in the public sector. There are a number of pay points to which job grades are aligned. The relevant pay points determine the pay ranges for the grades. Length of one’s service determines one’ s pay progression

Each of these models has its advantages and disadvantages. Fairness in the payment system can be promoted in spite of the model of pay that is adopted by the organization. It is important for HR to align the pay structure to the values, culture of the organization and the HR strategy of the organization.

It has often been argued that is difficult to determine whether manual or administrative roles deserve more pay. Job evaluation provides a mechanism for establishing whether roles are of equal values hence deserve the same pay. In addition to this, job evaluation would provide a framework for determining where different jobs involving similar skills are being carried out hence the need for harmonization of the pay.

As a golden rule, it is important for your organization to ask whether the HR team or external HR consultant has the most recent data on the pay structure from market surveys. Given that talent retention also entails offering a competitive package to your employees, a job evaluation would provide one with an opportunity to compare the pay offered for a particular job from one organization to another. Some of the rates in the market may not match the rates offered by your organization. Some positions may also not be matched by the positions in the market. For instance, organizations are increasingly phasing out some administrative roles while others prefer to maintain lean administrative units. Bearing these differences in mind as the job evaluation is being carried out will help the organization determine whether their employee retention strategy is future-proof.

  • Supports recruitment, succession planning and career development

In this era where talent is highly competitive, it is important for organizations to retain their talent by offering them competitive packages. The framework for carrying out job evaluation provides the most useful tool for comparing internal jobs to external market data on similar jobs.

For organizations that have a career family structure, the career development paths are often defined clearly. These are defined by level profiles that describe the skills, knowledge, experience and competencies that are required at each level of the structure. Carrying out a job evaluation can provide information for employees of an organization that will enable them to develop their skills for the next level as they seek to progress in their careers. Top management can identify gaps in the organization’s succession plan and put plans in place to address the gaps that have been identified.

Do you need help with carrying out job evaluation? Talk to us today and let us help you evaluate the jobs in your organization.

Mental Health in the Workplace

“The strongest people are those who win battles we know nothing about.” 

According to the World Health Organization, mental illness affects one in four persons globally. In Kenya, it is estimated that about one out of ten individuals suffers from mental illness. 25-40% of people seeking treatment from general medical facilities suffer from mental illnesses. Most of the individuals who are affected by mental illnesses are below the age of 35 years.  A survey carried out by Dr. Edith Kwobah which was published in the BMC Psychiatry Journal indicated that there might be close to 5 million Kenyans affected by mental illnesses.   

The effect of the subtle and often ignored mental illness is made evident by the rising number of suicides in the country. Conservative estimates indicate that the suicide rate in Kenya is about 7.9%. Mental illness related suicides are not limited to any tribe, religion, gender or social class. In October 2018, Steve Mumbo who had worked as business recovery manager at PwC, a leading audit firm in the country plunged to his death from the 17th floor of a building. It was speculated that his death may have been as a result of work related stress and depression.  Mental illnesses can take various forms including bipolar disorders, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. The underlying causes of mental illness are complex and multifaceted but work related pressures have been known to trigger or aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions.

In a speech that was delivered by the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko, it was revealed that 10% of absenteeism from work is related to mental illness. It has also been found that an episode of depression can lead to a loss of up to 36 working days. Mental illness can also result in presentism which results in employees being present but mentally disengaged from their jobs.  While statistics on the effect of mental illness on business in Kenya are scarce, other countries have found that mental illness has serious financial implications. For instance, statistics from the USA indicate that depression costs the economy $51 billion. Estimates from the UK indicate the mental illness costs UK businesses about €26 billion. 10% of these costs go towards the replacement of staff, 20% are attributed to absenteeism while 60% are attributed to reduced productivity at work. In the report on the costs of mental illnesses in the UK, it was reported up to 30% of these costs can be reduced by implementing work place well-being programs at the workplace.

 Mental illness remains a taboo subject in Kenya with most people attributing it to spiritual causes. The country only spends 0.05% of its health budget on mental health making access to mental health facilities beyond the reach of many. There is a scarcity of psychiatrists and psychologists in the public and private health care sectors. Insurance companies are hesitant to cover costs associated with mental health related illnesses in the country. These factors contribute to making it difficult for organizations to take steps towards the improvement of mental well-being at the work place.

On average, a person will spend 90,000hours at work. Internal or external factors related to the work place can contribute to poor mental health which in turn affects employee’s productivity and career prospects. Work related matters such as an overload of work, long working hours, unreasonable deadlines and job insecurity contribute to poor mental health. A review of 228 research studies on employee wellbeing reported that there was a significant relationship between work place stress and health outcomes. Job insecurity was found to increase the odds of reporting poor health by about 50%. Having high demands at work increased the odds of being diagnosed with illness by a physician by 35%. When a local office technology company in Kenya carried out a survey, it was found that most of the employees only had functional relationships at work. Most of the employees stated that they felt isolated and unrecognized which made them anxious at times. This is just one of the many organizations in Kenya whose employees may be courting poor mental health at the work place. Most organizations lack data on the status of the mental health of their employees in spite of the significant contribution of mental health to productivity.

In as much as there has been an increase in awareness about mental health in the workplace, most organizations have been slow to implement mental health policies. Traditionally, most organizations implement mental health initiatives at work following a mental health related incident in their organizations. Reactive measures towards improving mental health at the workplace often have little effect as compared to proactive, data driven measures. Most organizations also lack an understanding of the business case for having initiatives that promote mental well-being at the work place. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) for workplace well-being programs often stands as a barrier to companies seeking to improve the mental well-being of their employees.

In spite of the existence of these barriers, a number of organizations are leading the way. Unilever is a good example of an organization that has a mental wellbeing program in place. The company provides training for its managers to enable them to recognize signs of mental illness. The Copy Cat Group Limited in Kenya has an employee assistance program in place which allows employees to call a counsellor who works for the organization and discuss matters relating to their mental well-being. Kenya Railways has trained peer educators and counsellors as part of its work force who help their colleagues navigate matters related to mental health.

There are still many organizations in Kenya and in other parts of the continent that are lagging behind in promoting mental well-being at the work place. This mirrors the low priority assigned to mental well-being in the continent. Statistics by World Health Organization indicate that about 46% of countries in Africa lack a mental health policy. Employers need to create a culture of mental health awareness and promote initiatives that help prevent mental illness. Leaders play a crucial role in encouraging employees to talk about mental health and providing support for those who suffer from mental illness. This would help in mitigating stigma associated with mental health hence improving outcomes associated with mental illness. Barclays Bank (currently trading as Absa Group) provides a good example on how to do this. The bank had a campaign dubbed “This is Me” in which employees suffering from mental illness talked about their struggles and triumphs with mental illness. There are other actions that can be implemented by organizations such as:

  • Creation of  a culture of proactive, preventative management of  workplace well being
  • Having leaders model work-life model
  • Evaluation the effectiveness of  workplace well-being interventions using tools such as Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index

There is no one size fits all but a company needs to start somewhere; and what better place than how you hire by really getting to know your potential employees. Talk to us today for your hiring needs and we shall be part of your employee’s journey.

HR Trends that cannot be ignored in 2020

“The future is already here – it is just not very evenly distributed”

In 2015, the Judicial Service Commission advertised 1000 vacant positions. The commission received more than 80,000 applications which took weeks to sort through. It took the assistance of the National Youth Service, two academic institutions, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Directorate of Criminal Investigation to sift through the applications. The Judicial Service Commission would later admit that they were not prepared for the overwhelming response to the advertisement or the additional costs accrued in order to effectively carry out the recruitment process.

According to the 2019 Kenya Economic Survey, it is estimated that the current unemployment rate stands at 9.3%.  The rate at which jobs are being created in the country does not match with the rate at which skilled professionals are graduating from institutions. According to a recent report released by the World Bank, it is estimated that the country needs to create about 900,000 jobs per annum in order to keep up with the number of skilled graduates who are being churned into the job market.

Most human resources professionals admit that it is increasingly becoming impossible to keep up with the number of applications received following the advertisement of vacant positions within their organizations. As new technologies change the workplace and the war for talent heats up, all functions of the human resource departments must evolve and embrace new technologies. Below are some of the key trends that HR must embrace in the year 2020 and beyond:


1. Data-driven decision making

Decision making in this day and age cannot be separated from data. A report by Deloitte Global on human capital reported that while 84% of HR professionals surveyed from across the globe thought that people analytics was important, most organizations were hesitant to do it because they thought that they would not gain practical insights from it. However, as tools for analytics improve, more HR departments are embracing it.  The inclusion of digital interfaces such as employee self-service portals is crucial in ensuring that HR gather crucial information that will shape core functions such as recruitment and performance. Multinationals such as Google, use meeting-cancellation rates as an indicator of engagement and a predictor of future turn-over rates. Some of the questions that can be answered through data analytics include:

  • What are the possible reasons for the high turnover in XYZ department?
  • What are the skills gaps that need to be addressed through training in the next financial year?
  • What are the organization’s talent needs based on the projected growth of the organization?
2. Intelligent recruitment technology

In the case study cited above about the Judicial Service Commission, the use of technology would have saved the commission time and money. The bulk of the administrative work would have been done through the use of tools such as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) therefore optimizing the entire hiring process. Most ATS come with a set of preliminary questions known as “knock out questions” which help sift out through some of the applications in order to reduce the number of applicants who move to the next stage. 

Research that was done by the Society of Human Resource Management showed that the use of social media in recruitment the past five years had increased significantly. It was reported that one out of five candidates who were surveyed during the study had applied for a job through social media. Platforms such as Jobmarket maker and Entelo have the ability to automatically obtain information about candidates from a number of platforms such as professional forums, social media platforms, blogs, personality and skills assessments. Such systems have the ability to rank applicants as per the requirements of recruiters by cross-referencing the information that has been obtained from forums with the internal performance benchmarks of organizations. By synchronizing these systems with virtual assistants such as Talla, it is possible for a recruiter to get a list of the best interview questions to ask the applicants from the system

3. Growth of the remote office

A  2018 study that was carried out by a Switzerland based serviced office provider showed that at least 70% of the respondents from different countries worked from home at least once a week. The traditional working hours from nine to five are paving way for flexible working schedules. A report by Gallup showed that there was an increase in the number of US professionals working from home from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016.  It is estimated that by 2020, half of the workforce in the US will be working remotely. This trend is not just limited to developed countries but it is also catching up with developing countries. This shift has been accelerated by the availability of digital tools that make it possible to communicate, manage projects and track performance. We recently interviewed software developers and one of their top concerns was whether the Hiring Employer had the option of working remotely before they could even consider being interviewed by the potential employer. This goes to show that flexible work hours and work arrangements are gaining popularity in an already candidate-driven market.

4. Evolution of HR as a profession

With the ever-increasing adoption of technology in HR, HR as a profession is no longer about pushing paper and ensuring that employees stick to the rules. Experts predict that there are a number of new roles that will emerge as the future of work becomes a reality. These jobs include:

  • HR data scientists: Helps the organization incorporate the use of data analytics in its HR functions
  • Employee experience specialist: Focuses on the relationship between the employee and the organization. The benefits, the career trajectory, training needs etc. are evaluated and managed by the employee experience specialist
  • Head of talent acquisition: The war for talent is expected to continue as organizations strive to get the best talent in line with their business strategies.
  • Organizational psychologist: Uses psychological principles in the workplace in order to develop a more holistic approach towards HR, sales and marketing.
5. Evolution of HR service delivery

It is difficult for most HR professionals to keep up with the barrage of HR-related questions in big organizations. Chatbots are slowly being used to enhance HR service delivery. There are chatbots that can answer questions about HR related matters such as maternity leave policies, the status of the organization’s health insurance, etc.  The popular collaboration platform, Slack is one of the platforms that has successfully been integrated by HR departments to ease the management of questions from employees. Chatbots cannot effectively answer questions that lack definite answers or update policies hence there is still a need for the human element.

6. Employee training on demand

Learning management systems have enabled HR departments to make training easier to manage and more flexible. It is expected that there will be more reliance on virtual career coaches and context-aware platforms in an attempt to maximize on gains made through career training. Context-aware software analyzes the data that is available on the learning curves of employees then automatically recommends training based on areas where the employees are struggling. It is predicted that virtual career coaches will act like AI-driven mini managers by combining learning heuristics with virtual assistance. Human beings will still be required to create training material, set goals and creating career succession paths.

Are you ready for 2020 when it comes to smart recruitment? Do talk to us today and we shall walk the journey with you from talent identification, talent attraction to onboarding them right into your organization.

The future of the workplace in Kenya

A few years ago, banking halls used to be a mess. Clients would flock the banking hall at certain times of the month.  The bank employees would be overwhelmed by the number of requests. Fast forward to today, most banks have empty banking halls for the better part of the month. Most transactions are carried out online. There has been a significant rise in the adaption of mobile banking solutions by individuals and organizations. This is just an example of one of the sections that has rapidly evolved as a result of technological advances. With these advances, some jobs have been created while others have been rendered redundant. Many organizations have been forced to lay off staff as they seek to remain competitive in this ever-evolving business environment.

According to research on the future of work globally, that was carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the future of work is unpredictable given that it is subject to competing forces whose relation to each other is complex.  In as much as technological uptake in most sectors has been on an upward trend over the last couple of years, it is subject to other forces such as government regulations, consumer trends and shifts in economies. Robotics, artificial intelligence and automation are beneficial in a number of ways. They enhance productivity and improve lives but they can also be a source of unrest due to their disruptive nature. There have been reports in many parts of Europe and North America about protests by taxi drivers due to the expansion of Uber. Driverless cars have raised concerns about safety and led to protests in some parts of the USA.  

There is widespread fear and alarm as organizations try and grapple with the realities that will be brought about by the rapid shifts in the workplace. These fears are to some extent based on the realities. Recently, East African Breweries Limited announced that it was laying off some of its staff. Telkom Kenya also issued a notice indicating that some of its staff would be laid off. As it is, it is estimated that 5.2 million Kenya youth are either underemployed or unemployed. Reports about the emergent challenges and opportunities brought about by the preparation of most organizations for the future of work can be demotivating for those who are seeking to find their footing in their careers or to remain relevant in their respective careers.

The future of work presents unique opportunities that are yet to be fully exploited. In spite of the job losses that have been experienced in certain sectors in the recent past, there is a silver lining. Research by PWC categorizes the emergent opportunities for organizations and individuals into four: the red world, the blue world, the yellow world and the green world. Estimate reveal that while there might be up to 75% displacement of jobs, there are about 133 million jobs that will be created1. The opportunities in the yellow world are tied to the social nature of the sector. Business in this sector is secondary to the desire to do social good.

The Red world presents opportunities for innovators. Organizations in the red world are quick to adapt to new advances as they constantly seek to fulfill the desires of the consumers. Recently, Little Cab which has been offering shuttle services in Nairobi via a hailing mobile application was forced to halt its services after the government transport regulating agency, NTSA, flagged the company for failing to comply with its regulations. The online betting companies, Sport Pesa and Betin were recently forced to halt their operations and lay off their staff following a protracted battle over tax compliance. Facebook has been on the spot in the recent past due to concerns about data privacy. These are just examples of how innovation outpaces government regulation. In spite of this, the red world continues to constantly create new products and services for the ever-changing needs of consumers.  

The blue world thrives on having large corporations that are constantly seeking ways to expand their business portfolio. Mergers have been witnessed in Kenya in the retail and banking sectors as organizations prepare themselves to handle the challenges that will come with operating in an ever-evolving world. Large corporations possess the muscle and the skills to devote resources to research that will enable them to compete in the dynamic business environment in the future. Green world organizations pursue business models that factor in sustainability and concerns about demographic changes and climate change. By 2030, it is estimated that the world’s demand for energy and water will have increased by at least 50%. In Kenya, the pressure on water resources is increasingly being felt as the effects of rapid urbanization and deforestation threaten the traditional sources of water. The Green world provides opportunities for new engineering processes, recycling technologies, alternative energy sources and waste management processes.

The future of Organizations

Given that the changes in the workplace cannot be stopped, it is paramount that organizations and society adapt accordingly. For organizations, it is important to place more emphasis on training and retraining. People, not jobs, should be viewed as a priority in every organization.

In as much as the responsibility to acquire new skills is largely dependent on the individual, organizations that will thrive in the future need to make room for their employees to try new ideas, learn from their experiences and constantly rethink the ways in which they do their jobs. In order to remain relevant, the war on talent in the four worlds of work will remain fierce as organizations strive to remain relevant. It will be paramount for organizations to explicitly draw the link between people and performance and use this data to link the business objectives of the organization and the talent strategy of the organization. Traditional contracts that offer benefits such as medical insurance and pension may be rare as the world of work evolves. Organizations may find themselves grappling with the size and scale of their workforce as they seek to keep up.

What does this mean for the Workforce?

Adaptability is crucial for anyone seeking to advance his or her career in the future. In spite of the technological advances that have been made in the recent past, skills shortages are still being experienced particularly in the STEM areas. This does not mean that there are no opportunities for those whose education and skills does not fall under the STEM areas. A report of the top emerging professions listed sales and organizational development specialists alongside data analytics and software development. A survey of chief human resources officers drawn from various organizations listed the following capabilities as critical in the future workplace: creativity, complex problem solving, management capability, originality and entrepreneurship.

The World Economic Forum report on the skills required for the future workplace indicates that there will be a need for the aforementioned skills set to be blended with soft skills such as active listening, emotional intelligence and critical thinking.

In conclusion, work as we know it is constantly evolving. Those who will thrive read the times and adapt. Those who are keen spot the opportunities and take advantage of them. Change, as they often say, is the only constant thing in life.

We at Crystal Recruitment are in the business of getting you the talent that is adaptable to your business needs as the workplace keeps changing. Do reach out to us today.